By Benedict Okethwengu
NEBBI - A police officer was killed on Thursday night in Nebbi and three others injured after a Special Police Constable (SPC) opened fire at them.
Onesmus Mwesigwa, the Nebbi district police commander, said the killer policeman and the victims were all working at Nebbi Police Station.
He explained that the incident happened at about 12:00am when the victims were going about their duties at the station.
He identified the trigger-happy officer as SPC Francis Abayo. Abayo had spent just four months at the station after being transferred from Erussi.
Abayo, he explained, withdrew from where he was deployed and started shooting the victims indiscriminately.
Abayo was deployed to guard Nebbi district headquarters, a distance of about 50meters from Nebbi Police Station, and was due to finish his duty on Sunday.
Immediately after killing the cop and injuring his colleagues, Abayo ran for about 10 meters within the vicinity, before shooting himself dead.
The injured police officers were rushed to Nebbi hospital where they are undergoing intensive medical care.
Mwesigwa identified them as Constable Rose Mary Nyana, D/Sgt Geoffrey Awudo and SPC Moses Kissa.
He, however, said Nyana is in critical condition after a bullet penetrated through her waist and stomach.
Motive not known yet
Nyana has a six-month-old baby who is now in the care of her fellow policewomen. Mwesigwa identified the dead police officer as Lawrence Gilla, who hails from Abe district.
Dr Charles Kissa, the Medical superintendent Nebbi Hospital, said the three are in critical, but stable conditions, “Nyana is able to respond, and that is a great sign,” he said.
The motive of the killing has not yet been established.
Fredrick Ssegirinya, the West Nile Regional Police commander said the matter is under investigations.
“It is a very unfortunate scenario that must not repeat itself and we are going to investigate it to establish the cause,” he said.
He also appealed to the public to be calm, noting that it was not an attack by the enemy on the police station.
“The public should not be alarmed by the incident, it’s not an attack by rebels,” he said.
Josephine Angucia, the West Nile Police spokesperson, said the occurrence was least expected out of the police.
She said the endurance training and weapon handling techniques police officers acquire from training schools should enable them handle and control their emotions.
She also appealed to those officers who are facing problems to open up mind and speak to their superiors to avoid such tragic incidents.
A police source who preferred to speak on condition of anonymity, said prior to the incident, Mbayo was overheard complaining of being frustrated.
“Mbayo was talking of being frustrated, but he could not say who was frustrating him,” the source said.
Gilda Akello, a professional counsellor said Mbayo’s actions could have been a result of stress and frustration.
He appealed to the police leadership to ensure counselling sessions for police to avoid such a scenario.
“Such things are abound to occur, especially with forces if no counselling is being done to them,” she said.
Robert Okumu, the Nebbi district LC5 chairperson, said it was very unfortunate to lose such young officers in a dubious manner.
“It’s very shameful act, but my condolence go to the families of the deceased,” he said.
Ssegirinya said preparations were underway to take the bodies to the respective families for burial.